A 2014 result of the Reason-Rupe Poll revealed a surprising perception of Americans on millennials back then: nearly three-quarters of the respondents believed that these young ones are selfish. About 65 percent, meanwhile, called them entitled.
It turns out that these beliefs are not confined to the young generation. Many experts, some parents, and even teachers describe kids as entitled these days.
But what do we mean by self-entitlement? Google calls it a person’s belief that they deserve certain types of privileges and special treatment. In a way, that can make them selfish since they may always prioritize their needs over the others, especially when the going gets tough. Some entitled children may also become narcissistic later in life.
Why does this happen anyway? What can parents do to avoid raising entitled children?
Parents Are the Leading Cause of Children Entitlement
The Society for Personality and Social Psychology revealed that the ultimate reason people, particularly kids, feel entitled is unclear or not well understood. However, it can be due to three factors:
- The way parents and other authority figures treat their children
- Messages from the media
- Other life events
Of the three, the parenting style seems to be the biggest contributor. According to Dr. Magdalena Battles, a psychologist with a specialty in children and family relationships, children may grow up entitled when parents give too much.
In general, parents want only the best for their children. Moms and dads like them to grow happy and contented—not wanting anything. However, when done excessively, the impact leads to more harm than good.
Kids won’t learn to be independent, disciplined, and patient since they know that their parents will give them both their needs and wants. These children are also less likely to show appreciation because they felt they deserve what’s handed to them in the first place.
Over-parenting, which can include tiger and helicopter parenting, can also create a similar effect. These parents are more likely to micromanage their children’s lives in the hopes they can protect them from making mistakes.
However, what it does in the long-term is to rob the kids of a sense of autonomy. According to Conversation, preschool and primary schoolchildren with over-involved parents may exhibit higher levels of shyness and poor social skills. They may also show entitlement since they don’t know any better.
How Can Parents Stop Raising Entitled Kids?
A comprehensive review by Case Western Reserve University of over 150 academic papers revealed that entitlement can increase the risk of having poor relationships and depression. The individual may also be susceptible to interpersonal conflicts.
It could be because entitlement can make the person vulnerable to unmet expectations. When their expectations are not met, they become dissatisfied. This dissatisfaction can then make their emotions volatile. They may try to fix their emotional distress by reinforcing their entitlement.
The bottom line is children raised self-entitled will struggle significantly later on. The good news is people around them can help change this behavior:
1. Parents Should Expose Them to Other People and Children
Toddlers and preschoolers may benefit from attending daycare in many ways. First, they can be in a structured environment that can teach them discipline, patience, and obedience.
Second, they can learn to mingle with other children, so they can realize that the world doesn’t revolve around them. Moreover, as they become more social, they can build their sense of empathy, generosity, and understanding of the world and the people around them. Kids can also learn from or emulate their peers.
Lastly, sending the kids to school gives parents an opportunity to back away and reduce their need to micromanage. In school, too, the little ones can develop skills that will help them become resilient and adaptable.
2. Practice Tough Love
Let’s face it, when it comes to children, parents can be soft. That’s understandable—we don’t want to hurt them and feel guilty for doing that. However, in some cases, tough love can be a better option to raise responsible, loving, and selfless people.
How do you do this? First, learn to say no and mean it. Doing this will help create boundaries, teach them to be patient, and inform them that they won’t always get what they want.
Second, parents can teach these kids how to be accountable for their actions, particularly when they make mistakes. Moms and dads can also give the children space to do their responsibilities like doing household chores by themselves.
They say that kids are often born entitled, but they don’t have to remain this way. The sooner parents can correct this behavior—and their over-parenting style—the sooner children learn how to be better people.